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Automatic Personalization and Recommended Sections in Google News
Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:00 PM
Posted by Lucian Cionca, Software Engineer

Last summer we redesigned Google News with new personalization features that let you tell us which subjects and sources you’d like to see more or less often. Starting today -- if you’re logged in -- you may also find stories based on articles you’ve clicked on before.

For signed-in users in the Personalized U.S. Edition, “News for You” will now include stories based on your news-related web history. For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we'll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories. We found in testing that more users clicked on more stories when we added this automatic personalization, sending more traffic to publishers.

Also for signed-in users, we’ve introduced “Recommended Sections” in the side column that suggests topics you can add to your news page as custom sections, based on stories you’ve clicked on before.

If you don’t want to see personalized news based on your Web History, you have a few options:
To learn more, please visit our Help Center. And of course we'd love your feedback.
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Beyond Telegrams: Congratulations, Pulitzer Prize winners
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 3:09 PM
Posted by Dan Hirsch, Google News Support Team

Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced an impressive list of 13 prize winners and 29 finalists for excellent work in journalism and storytelling. These winners represent a wide array of incredible stories, such as The Los Angeles Times's multi-part series about government corruption in the small town of Bell, California, or The New Jersey Star Ledger's gripping tale of a mysterious boat wreck. We on the Google News team have nothing but respect and admiration for their fine work. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.

The winners also reflect the rapidly changing and evolving world of journalism itself. Almost all the awards went to stories accompanied by a rich presentation of content beyond just the printed words. ProPublica's series "The Wall Street Money Machine" includes detailed timelines and succinct data visualization to better illustrate the troublesome financial practices that led to the economic meltdown. To tell the story of one family's struggle to find a cure for their son's rare medical condition, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel produced numerous videos and an interactive graphics detailing the mysterious disease's physiology.

This year, prize rules explicitly encouraged the use of visual information, multimedia or databases. In fact, for the first time in the Prize’s history, jurors were mandated to bring laptops to the judging.

This isn't the first rule update in the prizes' 95 years of history. For instance, nobody has won the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting since 1947. One recipient of the short-lived award was James Reston of The New York Times for his reporting from the 1945 Dumbarton Oaks Conference, a meeting between Allied Forces that laid the initial groundwork for the UN. Much of his reporting came from the acquisition of leaked cables from unsuspecting diplomats. Though reporting technology certainly has changed, this incident doesn’t sound so antiquated these days.

You can read one part of Reston's series here in Google News Archives as it appeared in The Montreal Gazette.

In expanding the short-lived category of Telegraphic Reporting to National Reporting and International Reporting, the Pulitzer Board must have suspected that technology for communicating over long distances would inevitably evolve. This year's prizes better reflect our current media environment, but it makes me wonder what the best in journalism will look like fifty years from now.

[Reporting from the age of the telegram c. 1940, from Life Photo Archive]

To search for the recent work of this year's Pulitizer Prize winner, you can use the Advanced News Search feature. Enter the name of the journalist whose work you're looking for in the "Author" field of our Advanced News Search page, or use the [author:] search operator in the News search bar. For an example of an [author:] search and to see the recent work of this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished criticism, click here.
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New Google News for Opera Mini
Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:53 AM
Posted by Arun Prasath, Tech Lead and Dimitris Meretakis, Product Manager

While the Google News team has been hard at work redesigning our service for smartphones, we’ve also been thinking about our milllions of users around the world who access the web not from a smartphone, but from a feature phone, using Opera Mini as their browser.

So we have rolled out a redesigned Google News for Opera Mini in all 29 languages and 70 editions of Google News. This includes an enhanced homepage featuring richer snippets, thumbnail images, links to videos and section content without explicit navigation, a convenient search bar, comfortably spaced links and the ability to access your desktop personalization on your phone.

We hope that this will improve the news browsing experience for Opera Mini users around the world, including millions of people using a feature phone as the primary point of access for the web. See it here in the Indian Hindi and Nigerian English versions.

So, pick up your feature phone and point your Opera Mini browser to http://news.google.com to catch up on news anytime and anywhere. For more information or to share your feedback with us, please visit our Help Center.
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A simple way for publishers to manage access to digital content
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7:07 AM
Posted by Lee Shirani, director, business product management, Google Commerce

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

At Humboldt University in Berlin today, Eric Schmidt announced Google One Pass, a service that lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their digital content. With Google One Pass, publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers and give readers access to digital content across websites and mobile apps.

Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don’t have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.

With Google One Pass, publishers can customize how and when they charge for content while experimenting with different models to see what works best for them—offering subscriptions, metered access, "freemium" content or even single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps. The service also lets publishers give existing print subscribers free (or discounted) access to digital content. We take care of the rest, including payments technology handled via Google Checkout.

Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content. Like First Click Free, Fast Flip and Living Stories, this is another initiative developed to enable publishers to promote and distribute digital content.

German publishers Axel Springer AG, Focus Online (Tomorrow Focus) and Stern.de joined Eric at Humboldt University today as some of our first Google One Pass partners. Other publishers already signed up include Media General, NouvelObs, Bonnier’s Popular Science, Prisa and Rust Communications.

Google One Pass is currently available for publishers in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. If you’re a publisher in one of these countries and want to learn more, please reach out to the Google One Pass team or submit your information on our website. For interested publishers in other countries, we’d love to hear from you too as we plan to expand to other countries in the coming months.
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Labels: help for publishers
Credit where credit is due
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:00 AM
Posted by Eric Weigle, Software Engineer, and Abe Epton, Publisher Technical Specialist

News publishers and readers both benefit when journalists get proper credit for their work. That can be difficult, with news spreading so quickly and many websites syndicating articles to others. That’s why we’re experimenting with two new metatags for Google News: syndication-source and original-source. Each of these metatags addresses a different scenario, but for both the aim is to allow publishers to take credit for their work and give credit to other journalists. Here’s how to use these metatags:

syndication-source indicates the preferred URL for a syndicated article. If two versions of an article are exactly the same, or only very slightly modified, we're asking publishers to use syndication-source to point us to the one they would like Google News to use. For example, if Publisher X syndicates stories to Publisher Y, both should put the following metatag on those articles:
<meta name="syndication-source" content="http://www.publisherX.com/wire_story_1.html">

original-source indicates the URL of the first article to report on a story. We encourage publishers to use this metatag to give credit to the source that broke the story. We recognize that this can sometimes be tough to determine. But the intent of this tag is to reward hard work and journalistic enterprise. For example, to credit the publication that broke a story you could use a metatag like this:
<meta name="original-source" content="http://www.example.com/burglary_at_watergate.html">

In both cases, it's perfectly valid for a metatag to point to the current page URL. It's also fine for there to be multiple original-source metatags on one page, to indicate a variety of original reporting leading up to the current article. If you’re not sure of the exact URL to provide in either case, just use the domain of the site that should be credited.

Although these metatags are already in use by our systems, you may not notice their impact right away. We'll need some time to observe their use "in the wild" before we can make the best use of them. But we're hopeful that this approach will help determine original authorship, and we encourage you to take advantage of them now.

To learn more about how these metatags work, and how you can implement them for your site, visit our Help Center article.

Update 2/11/11:

We've had a lot of interest in these meta tags, particularly in how the syndication-source tag relates to rel=canonical. After evaluating this feedback, we’ve updated our system to use rel=canonical instead of syndication-source​, if both are specified.

If you know the full URL, rel=canonical is preferred, and you need not specify syndication-source​.

If you know a partial URL, or just the domain name, continue using syndication-source​.

We've also had people ask "why metatag instead of linktag"? We actually support both forms for the tag, and you can use either. However, we believe the linktag form is more in line with the spirit of the standard, and encourage new users to implement the linktag form rather than the metatag form we originally proposed.
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Labels: help for publishers
Enhancements to Google News for smartphones
Monday, November 8, 2010 3:45 PM
Posted by Arun Prasath, Tech Lead, Google Mobile News

Last November, we redesigned Google News for mobile access on smartphones including Android, iPhone and Palm Pre. Today, we're globally rolling out new usability and visual enhancements that we hope will make browsing news on your smartphone easier.

We expanded the story space to make tapping on articles easier and more accurate. Tapping anywhere on an article headline or snippet opens it up, and clicking on a section heading opens up that topic section on your screen.

In addition, the default view of stories is now collapsed which reduces scrolling time. You can 'expand' a story by tapping on 'More sources', which brings you to related stories from other sources. The screenshots below show the collapsed and expanded view of a story.



So, pick up your smartphone, point your browser to http://news.google.com​, and catch up on news on the go.
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Labels: features
$5 million to encourage innovation in digital journalism
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:05 AM
Posted by Nikesh Arora, President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development

Journalism is fundamental to a functioning democracy. So as media organizations globally continue to broaden their presence online, we’re eager to play our part on the technology side -- experimenting with new ways of presenting news online; providing tools like Google Maps and YouTube Direct to make websites more engaging for readers; and investing heavily in our digital platforms to enable publishers to generate more revenue.

But while we're mostly focused on working with news organizations to develop better products for users, we also believe it's crucial to encourage innovation at the grassroots level. That's why we’re giving $5 million in grants to non-profit organizations that are working to develop new approaches to journalism in the digital age. Our aim is to benefit news publishers of all sizes.

We've granted $2 million to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has a proven track record of supporting programs that drive innovation in journalism. It will use $1 million to support U.S. grant-making in this crucial area. The other $1 million will augment the Knight News Challenge, which is accepting funding proposals from anyone, anywhere in the world, until Dec. 1. Now in its fifth year, the News Challenge has supported projects like DocumentCloud, which aims to bring more investigative-reporting source material online so anyone can find and read it.

We’re eager to do even more internationally, so we will be investing the remaining $3 million in journalism projects in other countries through a similar partnership. Stay tuned for more details early next year.

We hope these grants will help new ideas blossom and encourage experimentation. As Thomas Edison once said, "When there's no experimenting, there's no progress. Stop experimenting and you go backward." We look forward to working with the journalism community to help digital news move forward.

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]
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Labels: announcements
Shining a Spotlight on Video News
Thursday, October 7, 2010 2:16 PM
Posted by Natasha Mohanty, Google News Software Engineer

Today in the U.S. we’re launching a new section in Google News called "Spotlight Video" that showcases popular videos from news channels on YouTube like "NOVA: The Secret Life of Scientists: Jean Berko Gleason" from PBS.

Google News has always helped users find recent articles from a wide variety of sources. But we recognize there are other types of stories that our users are interested in. So last year, we created the Spotlight section to feature stories of more lasting interest. Like the rest of Google News, Spotlight articles are selected by our computer algorithms, but they aren't your typical breaking news. Instead you'll find stories of enduring appeal such as feature articles, investigative reporting and opinion pieces. In fact, Spotlight quickly became one of our most popular sections.

So now we’re shining the spotlight on videos too. In the right-hand column you can find the new Spotlight Video section and check out recently popular news clips, like "Singer-producer Bruno Mars Continues to Rise" from the Associated Press.

If your news organization isn't already making its video content available on YouTube and Google News, we encourage you to get started. More information on how to submit your news videos to Google News can also be found in the News Publishers' Help Center. And here are some additional tips on news search engine optimization.

Side note: today you may have noticed we also modified the left-hand navigation. Now, as you scroll down the page, the navigation menu will move with you. This way, you can always see the sectional and hot topic quick links.

Please tell us what you think and we’ll keep working to improve Google News for you.
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Labels: features
Google News turns eight
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 8:02 AM
Posted by Krishna Bharat, founder and engineering head, and Chris Beckmann, product manager, Google News

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

Today we celebrate the eighth birthday of Google News. Not long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we started building and testing Google News with the aim of helping you find current events from a wide variety of global and political perspectives. On September 22, 2002, Google News rolled out to all English-language readers, with a dedicated News tab on Google.com.

Over the years we’ve made thousands of changes to deliver more news to more users—faster, and with enhanced customization, sharing and serendipity. We’ve added video, local news, custom sections, scanned newspaper archives and a redesigned homepage. We’ve grown from 4,000 sources to more than 50,000, and from one English edition to 72 editions in 30 languages.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal users and the news publishers working hard to keep you informed. Thousands of stories are made more discoverable through Google News each day. Based on the number of articles indexed by Google News, here are the largest news stories from each of the last eight years:
The 2008 election of President Obama takes the cake as the biggest news story since Google News was born.

This year, as we blow out our candles we’ll make one wish: that we serve you—our users and publishing partners—better than ever before in the years to come.
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Extending the Associated Press as Hosted News partner
Monday, August 30, 2010 9:00 AM
Posted by Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager

We’ve extended our existing licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. We look forward to future collaborations, including on ways Google and AP can work together to create a better user experience and new revenue opportunities. You can read more about our hosted news agreements in this post and this one.
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Labels: announcements
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